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15 Amazing Beaches near Huntington Beach, CA + Catalina Island

Huntington Beach might monopolize beach fame, but the area has plenty of other gorgeous options suitable for all types of beachgoers.

In Southern California, Huntington Beach might monopolize beach fame, but the area has far more to offer.  

From the family-oriented Mother’s Beach, praised for its tranquil, kid-friendly waters, to the exceptional beaches of Catalina Island, brimming with adventure and untouched beauty, the region delivers an array of compelling options. 

Check out what the area has to offer!

1. Huntington Beach

Huntington beach crowded with people, aerial view
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 0 miles
  • Activities: surfing, swimming, fishing, sunbathing, camping, sporting events and festivals
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, restaurants, pier, ADA wheelchairs, lifeguards

Huntington Beach, known as “Surf City USA,” offers an exceptional Californian beach experience. 

This 10-mile stretch of the Pacific coastline is renowned for world-class surfing conditions, attracting water sports enthusiasts and hosting the prestigious U.S. Open of Surfing annually. 

Visitors can explore the iconic Huntington Beach Pier, stretching 1,850 feet into the Pacific Ocean, popular for fishing and observing surfers. 

A host of amenities ensure a comfortable visit, including beachfront restrooms, outdoor showers, abundant picnic areas, and beach wheelchairs. 

RV camping is available for those looking to be lulled to sleep by the ocean’s rhythm. 

Year-round events like sporting competitions, fireworks shows, and festivals bring added allure to this already vibrant beach locale.

2. Mother’s Beach

Alamitos Bay Beach, Mothers Beach near Long Beach
Source: flickr/public domain
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 11 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, playground
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards, grills, lifebuoys

Tucked away in Alamitos Bay, Mother’s Beach presents an appealing alternative to Southern California’s high-energy, surf-focused beaches. 

This family-oriented sanctuary features gentle, wave-free waters, making it an ideal spot for children and novice swimmers.

The expansive sandy shore invites castle builders, while the placid bay is perfect for paddleboarding and kayaking. 

The beach facilities cater excellently to families, providing picnic tables, barbecue grills, and a playground, enhancing the enjoyment of a day by the sea. 

Ensuring a safe, worry-free experience, lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours. 

An excellent counterpart to the classic Huntington Beach, Mother’s Beach offers calm waters, paddling adventures, and the assurance of safety for families, setting itself apart on the Southern Californian coast.

3. Cabrillo Beach

Aerial photo of Cabrillo Beach located in San Pedro California I use Mavic pro in this
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 24 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, playground, volleyball, surfing, windsurfing
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards, grills, pier

Cabrillo Beach showcases a dual beach experience, satisfying both those who seek tranquility and thrill-seekers. 

The beach features one side that opens onto a serene harbor, perfect for families and beginner swimmers, and another that meets the Pacific’s surfable waves, ideal for surfing, windsurfing, and beach volleyball. 

The beach boasts a wide range of facilities, including a playground, picnic areas, and a bathhouse reminiscent of the 1930s. 

The lifeguard-staffed beach ensures safety for both swimmers and surfers. 

A unique feature of Cabrillo Beach is the neighboring Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, providing educational marine exhibits. 

Cabrillo Beach stands as a haven of relaxation, water sports, and education, setting it apart as a multi-faceted beach alternative.

4. Torrance County Beach

Miramar Park is located up a cliff overlooking the beautiful coastline of Torrance Beach, located in the South Bay of Los Angeles County in southern California
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 29 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, playground, surfing, walking, cycling
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards, grills

Torrance County Beach, a serene enclave set apart from the typical Southern Californian beaches, offers a tranquil retreat within easy reach of Huntington Beach. 

This expansive 1.5-mile sandy shore delivers a well-rounded mix of calm scenery, recreational pursuits, and guest-friendly amenities. 

The beach’s consistent surf draws both leisurely beachgoers and water sports enthusiasts, with activities ranging from sunbathing and swimming to surfing and bodyboarding. 

The Marvin Braude Bike Trail, or The Strand, runs along the beach, providing a scenic pathway for walkers and cyclists. 

In terms of amenities, Torrance County Beach offers public restrooms, showers, and ample parking, while the presence of lifeguard stations ensures safety. 

Despite its quieter nature, this beach, complemented by seasonal events in nearby Torrance, creates a serene yet vibrant beach getaway.

5. Little Corona del Mar Beach

Little Corona Beach in Corona Del Mar, California at sunset in summer
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 10 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, hiking, beachcombing, wildlife spotting, photography
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards (summer)

Little Corona del Mar Beach provides an intimate and serene beach experience, starkly contrasting the region’s bustling larger beaches. 

This quaint cove, renowned for its beauty, tranquility, and abundant marine life, captivates nature enthusiasts and families alike. 

Its tide pools teem with starfish, anemones, and crabs, offering a vivid peek into marine biodiversity. 

Swimmers, snorkelers, and divers find the calm waters inviting, while the striking ocean views and arching rock formations are a delight for photographers. 

The beach’s key amenities include public restrooms and street parking. 

Though lifeguard service is seasonal, the calmer waters and smaller beach size ensure safety. 

While not a hotspot for large events, its charm lies in its tranquility, natural beauty, and the local events hosted in the nearby Corona del Mar community.

6. Crystal Cove State Park Beach

Bench along an outlook with a view at sunset of Crystal Cove Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach line in Southern California
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 12 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, hiking, beachcombing, wildlife spotting, snorkeling, bodyboarding
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards

Situated along a rugged coastline, Crystal Cove State Park Beach stands as a natural wonderland, enticing those who seek a fusion of beach relaxation and wilderness exploration. 

Its diverse waters cater to swimmers, surfers, snorkelers, and bodyboarders alike, while land lovers enjoy over 18 miles of hiking trails, showcasing sweeping ocean views. 

The tide pools teeming with marine life are a highlight for nature enthusiasts. 

Essential amenities, including restrooms, picnic areas, and parking lots, ensure visitor comfort. 

Lifeguards ensure safety during daylight hours. Unique to Crystal Cove is the Beachcomber Cafe, serving delectable meals on the sand. 

While the beach itself may not host numerous events, the Crystal Cove Conservancy bolsters community and environmental awareness through outreach programs and interpretive exhibits. 

Camping at Crystal Cove offers an unforgettable experience, with cliff-top pitches presenting unparalleled ocean panoramas.

7. Table Rock Beach

View of a house on a cliff and a small cove at Table Rock Beach, in Laguna Beach, California
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 19 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, beachcombing, snorkeling, bodyboarding
  • Facilities: lifeguards (summer)

Table Rock Beach, located in South Laguna, stands as a secluded gem offering a serene retreat for those eager to venture beyond common tourist trails. 

Celebrated for its dramatic cliffs and unique rock formations, this hideaway provides distinct recreational opportunities. 

Its clear waters beckon swimmers and body surfers, while the beach’s namesake rock formation invites the daring to dive. 

During low tides, sea caves and tide pools, teeming with marine life, await exploration. 

Accessible via a long stairway, its charm lies in its secluded nature. 

While amenities are limited—comprising only summer lifeguard services and scarce street parking—the tranquil sands and breathtaking natural beauty reward those seeking serenity. 

Ideal for tranquil picnics, sunbathing, and nature photography, Table Rock Beach presents an unrivaled experience for lovers of unspoiled coastlines.

8. Bolsa Chica State Beach

Bolsa Chica State Beach, United States
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 4 miles
  • Activities: surfing, swimming, fishing, sunbathing, camping
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, RV campground, lifeguards, grills

Bolsa Chica State Beach, nestled along the Pacific coastline, offers an appealing retreat for those seeking calmer surf and a laid-back ambiance. 

This locale, just a stone’s throw from the bustling Huntington Beach, provides a better setting for beginner surfers and swimmers with its tranquil waters. 

Skygazers can enjoy an unspoiled canvas for kite flying, while anglers delight in surf fishing for perch, corbina, and sand sharks. 

The neighboring Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve invites bird watchers to spot over 200 species of migratory birds. 

The beach’s visitor-friendly facilities include restrooms, outdoor showers, barbecue grills, ample parking, and year-round lifeguard service. 

Perhaps its standout feature is the expansive RV camping facility, a rare opportunity in Southern California to camp so close to the ocean, making Bolsa Chica State Beach a worthwhile detour from its more famous sibling.

9. Junipero Beach

Night scene as sunsets on Southern California beach
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 14 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, playground, volleyball
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards, grills

Junipero Beach, perched along California’s sunny coastline, serves as a serene yet active escape, just a skip away from the hustle of Huntington Beach. 

Offering a generous sandy expanse, it attracts sunbathers while consistent waves provide an ideal setting for surfers and body-boarders. 

For those seeking more peaceful pursuits, a beachside stroll or yoga session offer serene interactions with nature. 

Comprehensive amenities include public restrooms, outdoor showers, beach volleyball courts, and BBQ pits. 

The beach’s ADA-accessible walkway ensures accessibility for all, while lifeguard stations provide safety. 

An exciting calendar of events, highlighted by the annual Long Beach Sea Festival, makes Junipero Beach a vibrant alternative to its more prominent neighbors, embodying an unpretentious coastal charm that invites both relaxation and recreation.

10. Crescent Bay Beach

View of beach and cliffs at Crescent Bay, from Crescent Bay Point Park, in Laguna Beach, California
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 15 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, hiking, beachcombing, wildlife spotting, snorkeling, bodyboarding
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards

Crescent Bay Beach, a secluded seaside paradise, stands out with its clear turquoise waters, bracketed by dramatic rocky points. 

This idyllic cove invites visitors to delve into a spectrum of activities, from snorkeling amidst abundant marine life to bodyboarding on the vibrant waves. 

Wildlife enthusiasts can revel in the sights at Seal Rock, a sanctuary teeming with bird species. 

Safety and convenience are well-addressed with lifeguard stations and public restrooms. 

Despite limited parking that peaks during high season, the beach’s allure remains undiminished. 

Visitors can explore fascinating tide pools at the southern end, or hike to Crescent Bay Point Park for panoramic vistas. 

A resoundingly popular destination, Crescent Bay Beach showcases nature’s splendor with an array of facilities and activities, making it a magnet for beach lovers.

11. Treasure Island Beach

People playing and swimming in blue and green ocean water at the beach near the rocks with waves rolling in at Treasure Island Beach in Laguna Beach California
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 18 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, beachcombing, snorkeling, bodyboarding
  • Facilities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards (summer)

Treasure Island Beach, an idyllic patch of Southern California’s coast, delivers a soothing blend of relaxation and adventure. 

This hidden gem, accessed through a path meandering amidst verdant gardens, presents large sandy expanses, perfect for sunbathing or picnics. 

Adventure seekers can relish the gentle surf, optimal for bodyboarding, while tide pools brimming with marine life at low tide captivate nature lovers. 

Amenities include clean restrooms, outdoor showers, and a wheelchair-accessible ramp, ensuring an inclusive beach experience. 

Nearby, the upscale Montage Resort enhances the day with fine dining options. 

While renowned for its tranquil ambiance over bustling events, the beach hosts occasional clean-ups, encouraging visitors to contribute to preserving its natural allure. 

Treasure Island Beach stands as an inviting seaside retreat, uniting natural splendor with convenient facilities.

12. 1000 Steps Beach

A breathtaking shot of the deep green ocean water and the beach and the waves crashing against the rocks with blue skies and clouds at 1000 Steps Beach in Laguna Beach California with people playing on the beach
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 20 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, picnics, beachcombing, snorkeling, bodyboarding, surfing
  • Facilities: lifeguards, restrooms, showers

1000 Steps Beach is a hidden treasure near Laguna Beach.

Despite the daunting name, less than a thousand steps lead visitors to a sprawling sandy expanse, enclosed by striking cliffs for an unmatched sense of seclusion. 

It’s an alluring playground for surfers, bodyboarders, and those keen to uncover vibrant marine life in the tide pools at low tide. 

Adventurous souls will relish the chance to explore the large sea cave at the beach’s southern end, a unique draw available during low tide. 

With necessary facilities including restrooms and showers provided, visitors can indulge in a comfortable beach day. 

However, note that parking can be a challenge, and lifeguards are stationed only during the summer season. 

1000 Steps Beach promises an exceptional beach experience, merging recreation and solitude in perfect harmony.

13. South Beach (Catalina Island)

Catalina Island vacation resort, Avalon, California, aerial view of green pleasure pier, calm ocean bay view of colorful houses, beach umbrellas, sunbathers, harbor in the summertime
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 16 miles to the ferry
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling
  • Facilities: lifeguards (summer), restrooms, showers, restaurants, hotels, pier, rentals

Set right in Avalon Bay on Catalina Island, South Beach offers an enticing blend of convenience and recreational charm. 

Just a stone’s throw from bustling shops, restaurants, and hotels, it’s a hotspot for families and beach-goers in the know. 

Plenty of sand and a gently sloping bank provide an inviting backdrop for sun-seekers and swimmers alike. 

Lifeguards keep a watchful eye during the summer, adding a layer of safety to the beach experience. 

The proximity to amenities such as restrooms enhances the comfort factor. 

In addition to sunbathing and swimming, adventurous visitors can rent SUPs or partake in a thrilling game of water polo during the summer. 

Packed with activity yet retaining a cozy charm, South Beach offers a quintessential Catalina Island beach experience.

14. Descanso Beach (Catalina Island)

Descanso beach club, Santa Catalina Island. USA, famous tourist attraction in Southern California, USA
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 16 miles to the ferry
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing
  • Facilities: bar, restaurant, lounge chairs, cabanas

Brimming with allure, Descanso Beach Club on Catalina Island fuses private exclusivity with public accessibility, offering a truly unique coastal experience. 

The Club’s crown jewel is its beachside restaurant and bar – attracting beachgoers wishing to enjoy a drink with their feet nestled in the sand. 

Patrons can luxuriate on imported sand, lounging on chaise lounges or within private cabanas, while savoring signature cocktails such as the Descanso Destroyer. 

Elevated service sees food and beverages delivered right to your spot, ensuring uninterrupted ocean views. 

Those seeking adventure will find water activities and exhilarating attractions like the Zip Line Eco Tour nearby. 

And come summer, live DJ sets infuse the beach club with effervescent energy. 

Descanso Beach Club truly embodies the Catalina Island promise of luxury and leisure.

15. Ben Weston Beach (Catalina Island)

Beautiful Cove on Catalina Island off California Coast
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Huntington Beach: 16 miles to the ferry
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, surfing, hiking
  • Facilities: primitive campground, trails

Remote and undisturbed, Ben Weston Beach on Catalina Island presents a prime adventure for those willing to journey beyond the beaten path. 

Nestled on the island’s southwest side, this hidden gem is accessed by traversing the rugged Ben Weston Canyon Trail, an excursion that further cements its status as an intrepid traveler’s haven. 

This unspoiled destination boasts a bounty of activities, offering a space for surfers to ride the Pacific waves, swimmers to immerse in clear waters, and hikers to explore nearby ridges. 

Sunbathers will find solace in the secluded sand stretches, free from typical beach crowds. 

History enthusiasts will appreciate the remnants of a World War II bunker nearby, a silent sentinel to a bygone era. 

Primitive camping is permitted, allowing adventurers to sleep under the starlit Catalina sky – but come prepared, as amenities are scarce. 

As challenging as it is rewarding, Ben Weston Beach delivers the quintessential Catalina Island adventure.

Getting to Catalina Island from Huntington Beach

Aerial view of Catalina Express speedboat next to Santa Catalina Island,, famous tourist attraction in Southern California
Source: dreamstime

Venturing to Catalina Island from Huntington Beach presents several feasible options, allowing travelers to customize their journey to paradise based on their preferences and budget.

The most common method of transportation is by high-speed ferry

Both Catalina Express and Catalina Flyer offer daily departures from various Southern California ports, with the closest to Huntington Beach being Long Beach and Newport Beach

Depending on the selected route, it’s a smooth one-hour voyage across the Pacific.

For an elevated experience, helicopter services are accessible from Long Beach and San Pedro, promising a rapid 15-minute flight to Avalon, Catalina’s primary city.

For those with access to private transportation, sailing to moorings in Avalon or Two Harbors is an alternative.

Once on the island, getting around is straightforward. 

Avalon, at just about one square mile, is easily navigable by foot, while taxis, shuttle buses, bicycle rentals, and iconic golf carts are also available. 

This makes Catalina Island an accessible and enticing destination for Huntington Beach residents and visitors alike.

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